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Mission or Study ID:   Expedition 7
International Space Station (ISS)
International Space Station
Launch/Start Date:
Landing/End Date:
185 days
ISS Expedition Seven Patch

On April 25, 2003, Expedition Seven Commander Yuri Malenchenko and Flight Engineer Ed Lu launched on the Soyuz TMA-2 spacecraft for a two-day flight to the space station. Malenchenko and Lu assumed formal control of the station from the Expedition Six crew after six days of handover activities.

During the six months that Malenchenko and Lu spent aboard the space station, they focused on station operations and maintenance, scientific research, science-focused education activities, and Earth observations. They also oversaw the upgrade of two station software packages. The first upgrade prepared the station for the additional truss segments that were delivered and installed during the STS-115/12A mission. The second brought the station to the STS-116/12A.1 software configuration, which involved adding another section to the Integrated Truss Structure. Performing these software upgrades during Expedition Seven gave ground controllers extra time to test the new software before the assembly elements were actually brought to the station and installed.

The crew devoted more than 200 hours to U.S., Russian, and other partner research that focused on human life sciences, as well as physics and chemistry, and their applications in materials and manufacturing processes. The station also served as a platform to study the Earth's environment.

Life sciences experiments continuing into Expedition Seven from earlier missions were:

  • Chromosomal Aberrations in Blood Lymphocytes of Astronauts (Chromosome) will study space radiation on humans. The expected results will provide a better knowledge of the genetic risk of astronauts in space and can help to optimize radiation shielding.
  • Interactions to identify and characterize interpersonal and cultural factors that may affect crew and ground support personnel performance during space station missions.
  • Effect of Prolonged Spaceflight on Human Skeletal Muscle (Biopsy), pre- and postflight tests on crewmembers that will help to determine the progression and extent of functional and structural change in limb skeletal muscle during prolonged space flight.
  • Mobility, a pre- and postflight investigation designed to study the changes in posture and gait after long-duration space flight.
  • Bone, a pre- and postflight experiment designed to study changes in bone density caused by long-duration space flight.

Among Expedition Seven's most important functions, however, was to provide motivation and inspiration for today's youth, the next generation of explorers. One of the crew's experiments allowed middle school students to control a camera on the space station to take pictures of the Earth. The students used these images to study the Earth's geography and environment.

The crew also built on the education efforts of Expedition Six ISS Officer Don Petit, whose explanations and activities from his "Saturday Morning Science" demonstrations focused on physical phenomena in microgravity. Lu continued those demonstrations during Expedition Seven, taking advantage of available time on orbit to reach out to students and researchers.

Malenchenko and Lu returned to Earth on October 27, 2003, aboard the Soyuz TMA-2 spacecraft, the same vehicle that brought them to the station.

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Experiments on this Mission